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Transcripts of Selected Group Discussions on CYC-Net

Since it's founding in 1997, the CYC-Net discussion group has been asked thousands of questions. These questions often generate many replies from people in all spheres of the Child and Youth Care profession and contain personal experiences, viewpoints, as well as recommended resources.

Below are some of the threads of discussions on varying Child and Youth Care related topics.

Questions and Responses have been reproduced verbatim.

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Ethics testing?


I have been asked to create an ethics test for people working in Child and Youth Care. Can you provide a checklist of issues it should cover that I can use as an outline? Also, where can I find a collection of sample Child and Youth Care ethics questions, or any other resources you think would help me with this task?

Any help you can offer will be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your consideration of this request, and thank you in advance for your kind assistance. Take care.

Jeff Kelland

Hello Jeff,

An ethical orientation to practice is indeed centrally important, but I'm not sure it is something that one can test for. I would encourage you to do some reading about ethics generally, and as applied to Child and Youth Care practice.
The following might be a good jumping off point:

Ricks, F. (1997). Perspectives on ethics in Child and Youth Care. Child and Youth Care Forum, 26(3), 187-204.

Ricks, F. & Garfield, T. (1998). Ethics education in Child and Youth Care: A Canadian Survey. Journal of Child and Youth Care (11)4 69-76.

Ricks, F., & Bellefeuille, G. (2003). Knowing: The critical error of ethics in family work. In T. Garfat (Ed.), A Child and Youth Care approach to working with families. New York: The Haworth Press, Inc.

When I was in practice, I had to revamp our screening and selection process, and as part of the interview, we used hypothetical vignettes. These enabled applicants and interviewers to discuss and explore values, boundaries, practice issues, etc., in a more complex way than a checklisted test might. The vignettes merely consisted of different practice situations that had ethical dimensions to them.

Good luck.

Laura Steckley

Helpful resources about ethics include the ACYCP Ethics of Child and Youth Care Professionals and the NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct & Statement of Commitment. The ACYCP material discusses the responsibility for self, to the client, the employer/employing organization, the profession and society. The NAEYC material discusses code of ethics to children, to families, to colleagues, to employees and to community and society. Each of these involve ideals and principles.

Chris Carer,

I noticed an Ethics course or class unsure which, at the WACYCP conference May 25-27 2010. If you are able to get there or maybe someone out there is attending that part of the conference, they can help you out with this info. Anyone going to the WACYCP conference in Waukesha, Wisconsin @ WCTC and is taking the ethics part of it?

Donna Wilson

The Texas Youth and Child Care Worker Association has a 3 hour ethics course based on the Standards for Practice of North American Child and Youth Care Professionals. It includes scenarios and a very short test over the learning objectives. If you are interested in the contents, please give me a call at 979-764-7303 so we can talk. I think we have materials that can help you. I would also be willing to converse by email.

Frank Eckles

I am shocked to discover how unethical I might be if my colleagues and I thought it best for a young person to like tell a lie to a tyrant about how a youngster was behaving. Notice my defensiveness. I don't feel when it comes to ethics that I can isolate myself by trusting my own judgment. Why is this? Shouldn't I be more sure?

Ethics is a complicated matter. I'm still exploring the whole subject. It once seemed so simple as if it were a matter of right or wrong.

Still looking and asking for help.

Best wishes,
Charles Sharpe

Hi Charles,

I used to share your defensiveness. However I now understand that tyrants promote Kantian ethics for the masses whilst they connive, lie, exploit and generally live by immoral means. The ethics of absolute truths are prisons for the mind. The challenge is to promote the good life and virtuous action in decision making. Children intrinsically have this ability and we school them out of it through religious and educational conditioning.

The ethics of social care are fundamentally compromised by the fact that most practitioners are complicit in a social order that favours the wealthy at the expense of the poorest and most vulnerable. Virtuous action for those involved in work with vulnerable children and families should include the redistribution of wealth, exceeding budgets recklessly, offering opportunities for life changing experience; theatre, concerts, fine food and access to education in it's widest sense.

We would then be involved in the ethics of joy not repression.

Don't you just love big ideas first thing on Monday morning.

Jeremy Millar

I loved your post, Jeremy! Particularly the idea of being involved in the "ethics of joy not repression".



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